For me this old memory is the one that always receives my full gratitude.
Thanksgiving. Memories, old, new, and in-betweens. During my growing up years my mom would roast the turkey, provide all the sides, and bake the pies. My grandmother, having arrived the weekend before, would be fully ensconced with newspaper, playing cards, and chicklets at the card table in the living, waiting to chat and play with any of her four grandchildren that came by. I was a steady visitor, often while my older sister was helping in the kitchen. Thanksgiving morning at my aunts and uncles would take the subway from Brooklyn to Grand Central Station and then board the train to Connecticut. My uncle brought salted almonds.
For me this old memory is the one that always receives my full gratitude.
Here's an update on my Giant Cell Arteritis condition. I call it a condition to distinguish if from a disease, which it is not. But for sure it is a medical condition that needs treatment from a rheumatologist. Currently I am down to taking only 5mgs of prednisone a day (starting with 60mgs three months ago). The plan is to be completely weaned from the drug when the weekly injections of Actemra that I give myself take over. The good news is that with this small amount of prednisone I am now sleeping through the night and feeling less jagged up during the day. I can handle this; I don't feel overwhelmed; I have declared myself 'normal.'
Experiencing this condition has humbled me. I have never been ill before in my life! I now know with certainty that being physically compromised is very different from just reading or hearing about it. I now truly know that hearing the effects of headaches, insomnia, and physical 'nervousness' is not at all the same as living with them in your own body. Obvious, I know, but a new understanding of empathy for me.
A few days ago I attend "Fashioned by Sargent" at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Nothing about the exhibit offered silence, solitude, or simplicity, but I don't need that all the time. The exhibit was packed almost exclusively with women over 50, who were buzzing with conversation about the portraits of the women and men, and the amazing textiles of the clothing of the period that Sargent painted (1856–1925).
I was introduced to "Picnic in the Grass… Alone," by Faith Ringgold in an exercise offered by Joan Chittister's <monasteriesoftheheart.org>. I wrote: "the picture reminds of the five winters I spent at the cottage-by-the-sea that I rented just an hour and a half from my home. I was alone all week, watching the sunrise and the ocean, walking the beach, praying and reading, and relaxing with a jigsaw puzzle (and with limited internet). I can't do that now, but I can reach into the memories and live the peace that that time offered me."
Right now, as I write, I struggle with how to get back into writing for this blog at least a couple of times a week , as I did while at the cottage and in subsequent years. Posting every other day isn't a worthy goal, but, for sure, more consistency is. At the cottage I had time; the only distractions were of my own making. My life is still involved with family, friends, church obligations, …, all of which I graciously (usually with a smile) accept and cherish. Since my last winter at the cottage in 2014, however, much has changed in the world, which seems to effect everything that we do . But I am not willing to play the blame game. It's up to me to write.
Thanks for bearing with me. I still have people checking in to see how I'm doing with silence, solitude, and simplicity, and sometime being alone. All of you encourage me, and so, with hope, I can still offer encouragement back to you.
This Sunday afternoon I attended an on-line lecture* by Timothy Vernon on the Museo del Opera del Duomo (Duomo museum) in Florence. It was almost as good as being there! Monsignor Vernon designed and managed the museum latest renovations and is the current director . His slides could easily have come from my own archives of this, my second favorite museum in Florence ( Il Bargello is the first). Enjoy.
*Sign up for these weekly Art History Encounters: elaineruffolo.com
YouTube offers lectures by Timothy Vernon
If I had made it to Florence as planned, on my last day I would have visited Santa Maria Novella, the beautiful gothic church of the Dominicans. Alas, I am VERY GRATEFUL for my many, many last days in my most favorite city. Good memories remain forever in some form or other.
A beautiful day here in New England, as I trust it is in Florence. I had planned to show you pictures of museums, churches, cafés, gardens,-- places I would be visiting in real time if I were there--October 1-12. Instead, I am home, sorting my photos, which is a delightful, yet time-consuming task. I'll spreading this travel delight throughout the fall.
Today it is autumn in my back yard. Yes, it is October when the color is at it's peak. Hmm.
Today would have been first full day of my 2023 fall visit to Florence. But alas, through no choice of my own, I am home treating Giant Cell Frontal Arteritis (GCFA). The condition is under control, but home is where I need and want to be. Thankfully I have many memories and many, many photos from previous trips.
Usually on this first day I visit the Convent of San Marco. If I have a favorite, this is probably it. On every visit I take photos of Fra Angelo's frescos in the monk cells and the big and small refectories, and his paintings displayed in The Pilgrim's Hospice.
There are 148 photos in the San Marco folder on my computer. Many are duplicates, but I can't entertain the idea of deleting any.
I offer you visual banquet., trusting that can search the internet for text if you so choose, while I enjoy my old-fashioned guide books.
A google search tell me that 6 hours of sleep a night is not enough. I know that! Two nights ago it was just six, the night before I clocked about 5 and a half. Last night, closer to seven!!!! I'm okay with this because I have time during the day to nap. Sometimes it's a couple of 15 minute dozes spread out; one day I was treated to a deep, hour long sleep. If enjoying life is an indicator, I seem to be getting enough.
I've often wished there were more mornings in my day. How about eight shorter
days instead of the standard seven? Well, "Watch what you wish for." My six hour sleep time with awake-up call at 2:30 or 3:00 is giving me that second morning. Love the energy it gives me. Reminds me of the when my kids were babies. They were in charge of naps; that early morning one and then another one later on. As well as that long awake time in the afternoon.
My current mantra: make the best of whatever sleep pattern life offers you, even if you have to accept that Prednisone is running the schedule.
Six hours of sleep--8:30 PM to 2:30 AM-- real sleep, enough to shout out a celebratory YES. And after that, my body calm and my brain semi-awake with an easy flow until 5 o'clock, time for coffee and the usual start of my day. I may be into New Beginnings, but that doesn't mean that everything must be new, nor everything old has to tossed out!
The New I'm envisioning has a sacred feel-- worthwhile, lasting, positive, satisfying, beneficial to others, forward moving. The New I'm envisioning offers a subtle movement toward fewer activities, concentration on what might generate and sustain the New, and openness to a paradigm shift that satisfies a sustained longing, not a short-term whim.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org